The holidays are upon us! Thanksgiving is over and the rush of Christmas begins, followed close behind by New Years! Whether the holiday season brings joy or sadness, family gatherings or solitude, stress or excitement, one thing is to be sure; there will be food. Probably lots of it! Whether you are hosting a gathering or contributing to one, you want the food to be tasty and delicious. The easiest way to accomplish this is by using real ingredients. But what exactly does that mean? It could mean making your food from scratch, but not necessarily, as many recipes utilize processed ingredients. To me, cooking from scratch means not using imitation ingredients or processed canned items. While convenient, they aren’t healthy or tasty! Take a look at your traditional holiday recipes and see if you can make them a little more healthy.
For instance, if you make green bean casserole, don’t use canned cream of condense soup, make your own white sauce! Don’t use canned green beans, use fresh or frozen. Don’t use canned gravy, make your own! Don’t use stuffing out of a box, make your own! One easy and extremely healthy adjustment you can make is to use real butter. Yes, it is healthy!! Get rid of the margarine, shortening, and other synthetic oils that cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Cookies made with butter will taste incredibly delicious and won’t leave a yucky coating in your mouth. While you’re at it purchase real vanilla extract! I love pie, and the best pie crusts are made using real butter and cream cheese or by using lard instead of shortening. Lard is actually good for you! And again, no more greasy coating in your mouth! Don’t overwhelm yourself, pick only one recipe that you make to change for the better. In some instances your family will never notice the difference, however if they are accustomed to the taste of processed foods that contain preservatives you might end up with a family revolt at the dinner table. Choose your changes wisely; you certainly don’t want to ruin Christmas dinner!
If you already use real ingredients in your cooking, raise the bar and purchase higher quality. Use organic butter instead of store brand, find a really good gourmet vanilla extract, or use an exceptional brand of flour. Invest a little extra time and a little extra money into real ingredients. Whatever your cooking entails, I trust it will help to create a beautiful, tasty and healthy holiday!